Spanish Super-flu-ous & an Amazing Skye Line in Madrid

Skye Mina

Now that a minor version of the Spanish Flu has finished cutting a wide swath through the household, Mr. Understanding falling victim last week, things are slowly returning to normal. I, however, am teetering between being aplatanado (listless, like a banana, from whence the word comes) and marking time til our family jaunt to Rome on Wednesday, paranoically scrutinizing every twinge of my body to see if I will be the final victim.

I will just admit here that I am a terrible nurse, a fact which mortifies me since I have so often needed the nursing services of others. I have had a really busy last couple of weeks. And after canceling most events during the week the children were sweating it out, I selfishly was not really prepared to reprise my role of Flo Nightengale. Fortunately, I did not have to. Mr. Understanding, after all, lives up to his name (which goes a loooooong way towards mitigating the “I told you so” factor). I slept in the guest room, entering our boudoir only to deposit beverages and ibuprofen, and went about my business.

One of the events I was not eager to cancel was a book talk given by Giles Tremlett. La Lopez had suggested I read his book, “Ghosts of Spain”, which I wish I had read before moving to Madrid. In person, Mr. Tremlett looks like a more sober, intellectual version of Mel Gibson. He was hawking his new book, “Catherine of Aragon”, and gave the International Newcomer’s Club of Madrid a preview. I suggest you all buy it for your next book club selection. Ferdinand and Isabel’s youngest daughter, Catherine, was by no means a patsy; her daughter Mary inherited this iron will which she later used to burn Mr. Understanding’s forefather at the stake (or so we surmise).

Another event I was loathe to miss was the Skye Line fashion show at the American School of Madrid. Skye Mina, an ASM alumna and our sometime babysitter, produced a fashion show for her thesis project at the Instituto Europeo di Design. The line of prom dresses was created out of leftover scraps of fabric and other recycled bits, such as the underskirt of a wedding dress. The models were all high school girls of every size and shape, thereby proving that skinny super models are superfluous. If she had been my own daughter, I could not have been more proud. Although Skye had lots of help and an excellent mentor to guide her, the vision was all hers and the collection suited the various aspects of her own personality. The bodice of her own dress was made of Metro tickets. Her show was a triumph. I will see if I can post a video of it later. Keep an ojo out for her!

Then on Sunday Mr. Understanding and I became padriños to Rafael, a son of one of our fellow American churchgoers. Rafael, who is six, was baptized along with his twin brother Luca and his little sister Alessandra. Two other bible bangers were the fellow madriñas. Feverish, Rafael soldiered on to church in order to receive his blessing. Earlier in the week, I had called him to have a little chat with him. Here is a slice of our conversation:

EPP: So, Rafa, what are your favorite things to do?

R: Well, two of them are bad, so I don’t think I should tell you. The other is, when I go to sleep with my dad.

EPP: Does he read to you?

R: Yes.

EPP: What are some of your favorite foods?

R: Potato chips. Hamburger. Meat. Anything meat.

EPP: Interesting! And what is your favorite game?

R: Marbles. My dad played them when he was a kid and he showed us how.

EPP: Part of my job as your godmother is to listen to you if anything is bugging you. Is anything bugging you right now?

R: YES! My little sister! She is bugging me A LOT. She wants to play our games and really, they are too violent and not good for her.

Marbles? Isn’t that a happy change? I was laughing on the inside so hard, utterly charmed. I am still wondering whether I should be concerned about the two bad favorite things Rafa likes to do but think I will let his mother worry about that instead.

Most of the time, as an expat, you wonder what you are doing living in a foreign country, exiled in a way from your homeland’s normal routine. Keeping in touch with friends around the globe is hard work: time zones, faulty postal systems, Chinese firewalls, and not enough hours in a day conspire to end relationships. This is a sad reality of the expat life. But it is moments like on Sunday, seeing those sweet kids’ heads bent over the baptismal font, warm water being scooped onto their heads by a shell, that I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and whose names will be inked into my address book forever.

I will post after Roma!



Filed under Family, Friends, Life, Reading, Spanish vocabulary

14 responses to “Spanish Super-flu-ous & an Amazing Skye Line in Madrid

  1. maria

    For me this was the best post I got,ever…Parabens princess!Parabens pelo batismo e por ser esta pessoa especial que esta no meu caderno de enderecos para sempre tambem!beijos

  2. Exat: Loved this post. I have a stupid question: Is the book “Ghosts of Spain” in English? I would love to read it, but considering the fact that my rudimentary Spanish could not release me from a Spanish gas station attendant’s custody, well then, I doubt I will be reading any books in Spanish soon. I, too, am curious about the “two things” that R can’t tell you about. Probably someting really outrageous like stealing a dime story candy or peeking at his Christmas present early??? I received your Valendine’s Day card, THANK YOU!!! Still trying to figure out which one to send to your bullentin board.

    Much Love,

  3. Great post!
    Would love to see Skye’s fashions.
    And who is Mr. U’s ancestor?
    Que lo pases muuuuy bien en Roma!

    • Rita: you too would love the book Ghosts of Spain. You might not agree with it all but it makes interesting reading. Skye is going to send me the link to the show as soon as she uploads it. And the ancestor is the first person Bloody Mary burned at the stake … go Googling! Again, this is unconfirmed but possible ….

  4. Mood Ring Mama

    Rafa is a lucky boy – you take being a Godparent seriously and always check-in with those whom you sheppard. You are lucky too – What a sweet conversationalist of a boy!

  5. Raftbuddy

    Have a wonderful trip and stay healthy!!

  6. This post warmed my heart. As MRM said you are a good Godparent.

    Marbles are from my era. They were wonderful, although I did not play well. But it was the collecting and the sorting that appealed to me.

  7. Radish: I am not that great but I do take my duties seriously. Bring a bag of marbles when you come in April!

  8. Applesauce

    Radish – be sure to take some of those “cat-eyes” we used to play with!
    ExPat Princess and the Things will love them!

  9. Pingback: Skye mina | Mongrelmovies

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